Although every attempt has been made to keep this copy of 322 CMR accurate and up to date, this is an “unofficial” copy. The official copy is maintained by the Secretary of State and may be purchased from the state bookstore. For more information on ordering a copy of 322 CMR go to http://www.sec.state.ma.us/

Recreational Finfish Regulations

Updated as of June 8, 2015  
*Note: These regulations apply to state-waters only. Please click here for federal-waters recreational fishing regulations.
SpeciesSeasonSize LimitPossession Limit
American Eel (1)January 01–December 319 in.25 fish
Billfish and swordfish (2) 
Black Sea Bass (3)May 23–August 2714 in.8 fish
BluefishJanuary 01–December 31No Limit10 fish
Cod (4)(5)(8) (North of Cape Cod)Prohibited
Cod (4)(5) (South of Cape Cod)January 01–December 3122 in.10 fish
Dab (Plaice) (4)(5)January 01–December 3114 in.No Limit
FlukeMay 22–September 2316 in.5 fish
Gray Sole (Witch) (4)(5)January 01–December 3114 in.No Limit
Haddock (4)(5)(8) (North of Cape Cod)January 01–December 3121 in.No Limit
Haddock (4)(5)(8) (South of Cape Cod)January 01–December 3118 in.No Limit
Halibut (4)(5)January 01–December 3141 in.1 fish
Monkfish (4)(5)January 01–December 31No LimitNo Limit
Ocean Pout (4)(5)Prohibited
Pollock (4)(5)January 01–December 31No LimitNo Limit
Redfish (4)(5)January 01–December 31No LimitNo Limit
River HerringProhibited
Scup   
 PrivateMay 01–December 3110 in.30 fish or 150 fish/vessel if 5 or more anglers are aboard
For-Hire BonusMay 1–June 3010 in.45 fish
 For-Hire RegularJuly 01–December 3110 in.30 fish
Shad   
Merrimack RiverJanuary 01–December 31No Limit3 fish
Connecticut RiverJanuary 01–December 31No Limit3 fish
Other RiversJanuary 01–December 31No LimitCatch and Release Only
Sharks** (excludes spiny dogfish)   Refer to Shark Section. Full regulations at 322 CMR 6.37322 CMR 6.37
Smelt  June 16–March 14No Limit50 fish
Spiny DogfishJanuary 01–December 31No LimitNo Limit
Striped Bass (6)January 01–December 3128 in.1 fish
TautogJanuary 01–December 3116 in.3 fish
Tunas (7)   Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries
Weakfish January 01–December 3116 in.1 fish
White PerchJanuary 01–December 318 in.25 fish
Windowpane (4)(5) Prohibited
Winter Flounder (4)(5) (North of Cape Cod North of Cape Cod pdf format of winter_flounder_rec_map.pdf
)All Year 12 in.8 fish
Winter Flounder (4)(5) (South and East of Cape Cod South and East of Cape Cod pdf format of winter_flounder_rec_map.pdf
)March 01–December 3112 in.2 fish
Wolffish (4)(5)  Prohibited
Yellowtail Flounder (4)(5)January 01–December 3113 in.No Limit

 **Rule making is on-going and some regulations are subject to change in 2014.

Notes:

1) Subject to regulation by the Division and the municipality. Please consult municipal regulations.

2) All billfish species and swordfish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail fork. These species are managed by NOAA's Highly Migratory Species Office. Please consult NOAA Fisheries for permitting requirements and regulations. 

3) Black sea bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail, not including the tail filament.

4) Federal rules apply beyond state waters. Consult NOAA Fisheries for permitting requirements and regulations.

5) It is unlawful to fish with hook and line gear in the Winter Cod Conservation Closure from November 15 through January 21. It is unlawful to take cod from the Spring Cod Conservation Closure from April 16 through July 21. 

6) Striped bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail. The discard of dead legal sized striped bass is unlawful. The practice of high-grading, whereby legal sized striped bass are released in favor of larger fish caught subsequently is unlawful. Accordingly, it is also unlawful to keep a striped bass alive in water by attaching a line or chain to the fish, or placing it in a live well or holding car. Striped bass must be kept whole, meaning the head, tail, and body remain intact. Only evisceration is allowed. Permitted for-hire vessels may fillet striped bass for their customers.

7) These species are managed by NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Office. Please consult NOAA Fisheries for permitting requirements and regulations.

8) Cod and haddock rules subject to change in 2014.